Executive Chairman, Garrigues
Our firm has always specialized in business law and maintained a strong international presence. All our departments, including tax, corporate, labor, litigation and arbitration, and public law are market-focused and leaders in their practice areas, which is evidenced by the fact that we are the leading labor and tax law firm in Spain. Garrigues was also the first Spanish firm to open an office in New York in the 1960s. Our international strategy is to have our own offices in the countries where we operate so our clients are assured that when they require services in Colombia, for example, they receive the same quality service as they would in Barcelona, Bilbao, or Lima. All of these factors have led us to become the largest continental European legal and tax services firm, with an increasingly important presence outside Spain. This firm also has the best people (over 2,000) and the best teams. What sets us apart is that we are able to readily take on projects, regardless of the industry or sector, thanks to a group of people who have wide-ranging knowledge. Before I was appointed chairman and suggested a change of strategy, we had always worked on the basis of agreements with local law firms, maintaining strong partnerships with offices in Latin America. But if we want there to be a “Garrigues way of doing things“ wherever we are, it requires a certain standardization of quality, service, and client response. Our offices operate exactly the same in Lima as they do in Barcelona.
Managing Partner, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo
The firm will turn 50 in 2021. From the beginning, it was one of the most international firms in Spain. It developed and grew substantially in the subsequent decades based on foreign investment. Since then, it has remained independent and become one of the top-tier firms in the country. We are among the four largest firms in Spain and have retained a solid combination of an international approach and well-established local knowledge. We perform our activities with international standards, which attracts international investors and clients. We have offices in most of the largest cities in Spain, including Barcelona, Bilbao, and Valencia, and opened our first international office in Brussels, making us the first Spanish firm to do so. We have also opened offices in London, New York, and Lisbon, the latter and Barcelona being our top offices outside of Madrid. We consider ourselves to be an Iberian firm, not merely Spanish. As a firm, we are interested in Latin America as it is the natural region of expansion for a Spanish firm; however, we have not opened our offices there yet. Our strategy is mainly based on having preferred firms in certain jurisdictions. We have identified one firm similar to us in its approach and organization in each key jurisdiction, and for the time being we will maintain this strategy. It enables us to provide the quality of service our clients need. Our clients appreciate this strategy as well, as certain global structures do not maintain a level of quality.
Founder & Executive President, Hugo Écija
Our firm was created in 1997 when we started as a boutique firm specializing in IT and media, a year before any dot coms had appeared in the Spanish market. In five years, we were established as the leading—and first—IT firm in the country. We established our first international office in Miami. It was a hard plough, slow and not particularly successful. But IT is an international market and the 2008 economic crisis brought investors to our doors. We became the first law firm in Spain to add private equity. By 2014, that private equity had provided ballast through the difficult market years, and the stability gave us time to strategize. We decided to start merging with existing law firms abroad and have now expanded to 11 countries with 19 offices. We have a presence in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and even keep the office in Miami as a hub for Latin America. We also have an office in Portugal and offices all over Spain. Our strategy is to become one of the top five Spanish law firms. Right now, we have more than 400 lawyers and in the last three months have culminated mergers with four more law firms. We are also opening new offices in Puerto Rico and Ecuador. We are considered the top TMT law firm and most of our clients are telecom, data and technology companies.
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